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Nancy Farmer

Nancy Farmer(1941- )
Nancy Farmer has won 4 Newbery Honors and awards for her children’s books. In addition to the epic fantasy listed below, she writes science fiction and historical fiction. Learn more at Nancy Farmer’s website.

The Sea of Trolls

The Sea of Trolls — (2004-2009) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Jack was eleven when the berserkers loomed out of the fog and nabbed him. The year is A.D. 793. In the next months, Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his fierce young shipmate, Thorgil. With a crow named Bold Heart for mysterious company, they are swept up into an adventure-quest that follows in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings. Other threats include a willful mother Dragon, a giant spider, and a troll-boar with a surprising personality — to say nothing of Ivar the Boneless and his wife, Queen Frith, a shape-shifting half-troll, and several eight foot tall, orange-haired, full-time trolls. But in stories by award-winner Nancy Farmer, appearances do deceive. She has never told a richer, funnier tale, nor offered more timeless encouragement to young seekers than “Just say no to pillaging.”

The Sea of Trolls nancy farmerthe land of the silver apples 3. The Islands of the Blessedthe land of the silver apples 3. The Islands of the Blessed

The Sea of Trolls: Solid story lacks some spark

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The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

While it was a nice breath of fresh air to see a book that incorporated the Norse mythology involving Odin, Thor, Ragnarok, etc., something relatively rare in all the fantasy out there, it seemed The Sea of Trolls as a whole lacked a spirit or spark to make it stand out.

The story follows just-started apprentice bard Jack as he and his little sister Lucy are taken prisoner by raiding Northmen (basically Vikings). The Sea of Trolls opens with Jack starting his apprenticeship, moves quickly to the raid and subsequent capture/enthralldom, then slows down a bit in pace. The story is mostly episodic, as Jack experiences a sea voyage, another raid, a short time as thrall to Olaf (the giant Northman berserker who captured him), and a confrontation with Olaf's queen, a half-troll half human shapeshifter whom Ja... Read More

The FIREBIRDS Anthologies: Excellent short fiction for young adults

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The FIREBIRDS anthologies edited by Sharyn November

Firebirds is the first of the three FIREBIRD anthologies edited by Sharyn November. Some people don’t like short stories, especially in anthologies where you are reading several different authors. I, however, almost always have a volume of short stories on my bedside table. Even if I manage to get no other reading done during a hectic day, it is a way for me to finish a whole story in 15-20 minutes. In an age where many authors seem incapable of writing anything other than multi-novel epics, it is a treasure to be able to enjoy a whole tale in one sitting.

Many collections of fantasy short stories are a compilation of hit or miss attempts to match a loosely defined theme for the volume. The Firebird Anthologies far exceed th... Read More

Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales

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Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Fairy tales were my first love when I was a child. My mother introduced me to the joys of stories with The Golden Book of Fairy Tales long before I learned how to read. My early reading included the first three volumes of The Junior Classics and Andrew Lang’s colorful fairy tale books. When Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling started editing anthologies of new takes on the old tales for adults with Snow White, Blood Red, I was delighted. And when Datlow and Windling started editing a series of original fiction for young adults... Read More

More by Nancy Farmer

House of the Scorpion — (2002-2013) Young adult. Publisher: Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium — a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster — except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect.

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fantasy and science fiction book reviews